Portable cassettes and CD players were the “IN” things when it comes to music you can take with and listen to anytime you want. But the portable music landscape dramatically changed when Apple decided to invade the music industry with the first generation of the iPod back in October 2001.
Audio playing and music entertainment was significantly digitized and made compact. Other companies were left with no choice but to produce their own digital music players as well. Today, the recent incarnation of the first iPod, the iPod Touch, has enjoyed a commercial success. However, other digital MP3 players are gaining ground and it won’t be surprising to hear them taking the market by storm and giving the iPod Touch some serious competition really soon.
1. Sony Walkman NWZ-F805
It is only right that Sony creates something that is capable of going head to head against the Apple iPod Touch. After all the Sony Walkman series did pioneer the whole portable personal music player trend back in the early 1980s with the clunky cassette deck your dad used to strap on his belt. The Sony Walkman NWZ-F805 features a 3.5-inch touchscreen, works well with Google Play (where you can store tons of music titles directly in the cloud) and featuers S-Master MX Digital Amplifier and Clear Audio to make sure that you hear every detail of the song. And if you want to spread some tunes in the room, this device is fitted with the xLOUD speaker system which basically gets the job done and more.
2. Cowon X9
Looking for something tweakable? The Cowon X9 is not just another top grade MP3 player in the market, it is also loaded with dozens of EQ settings and presets for you to play with to get the sound that you want. It’s also fitted with JetEffect engine, that guarantees you’ll hear every detail once you put those headphones on. But what makes the Cowon X9 super special is that you can get to play your favorite tunes without fussing about power. This device’s battery life can last up to 110 hours before clocking out.
3. Astell & Kern AK 100
The Astell & Kern AK 100 isn’t exactly a cheap alternative to the iPod Touch. One unit of this music player costs as much as the sim free iPhone 5. However, the sound quality you hear from the Astell & Kern AK 100 is heaven to your ears. It also has a twin micro SD card slots able to load 64GB worth of songs each, so storage is not much of a problem. But with its very steep pricing, this high end MP3 device is only meant for audiophiles who can afford to splurge tons of money without batting an eyelash.
4. Sony Walkman NWZ – E574
Another entry from Sony, the Sony Walkman NWZ – E574 adds to the fact that the Walkman Series is no slouch when it comes to portable and personal music players. Installed with the Sony’s Clear Audio Tech, which ensures you’ll get crisp and crystal sound whenever you put the headphones on. You can hear every detail and enjoy the music. Downloading songs is a breeze with its drag-and-drop transfer. Included in the purchase are Sony’s noise cancelling headphones that easily drown 98% of the sounds coming from the background, making sure you hear nothing but sweet music once you lay down and listen to some tunes. Battery can last up to 30 hours before dying out. Not exactly the best, but not shabby either.
5. Cowon A5 Plenue
Cowon makes another appearance with the A5 Plenue, the company’s first ever Android device. This MP3 player features 4.8-inch 800×480 WVGA touchscreen display, 512 MB of RAM, and a 1GHZ processor. Built for hardcore audiophiles the Cowon A5 Plenue also comes with a set of advanced functions, including 48 presets, a 5-band EQ filter, and BBE+ enhancements. The JetEffect engine is also onboard, making the A5 Plenue a great option in comparison to other media players in the market. Depending on the size of your music library, you can choose between the 32GB or 64GB version.
6. Sandisk Sansa Clip+
Great audio entertainment need not be expensive as shown by the Sandisk Sansa Clip+. This low-cost music player offers a great deal if you are all about listening music without the fuss over high end features and premium options. Offering 32GB of storage thanks to its Micro SD expandable memory, the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ also has a stopwatch, making it a perfect partner whenever you are running or sweating it out in a gym. And if you are looking for some versatility in your tunes, you can switch to FM radio.
7. Fiio X3
The Fiio X3 is simplay a music player you can carry with you everyday. Capable of running HD music from your pocket, the Fiio X3 can store up to 64GB worth of songs thanks to its expandable Micro SD feature. And while it is small, the Fiio X3’s battery can pack up to 10 hours of non-audio enjoyment. With its USB charging port, you can basically hook up the X3 to a PC, mobile car charger, or any power source with a USB cable whenever you need to juice up.